JUNE 12, 1953
OSAKA, Japan —Thursday afternoon from 5:30 to 6:45 I met in conference with the women representatives of labor unions in this area, just to balance the two hours spent with the business leaders!
That evening we dined very informally in a Japanese restaurant with the American head of the National City Bank, Dr. Davis, who has been in Japan for 26 years and had sat in on the afternoon conference with business leaders.
Friday morning, June 5th, I visited the American Cultural Center which is the U.S. Information Service run by the State Department. They have a library of some 16,000 books and students were already sitting at work at the various tables though it was quite early. They tell me about 1000 people a day use their facilities. These U.S. Cultural Centers are all we have to offset the Soviet subsidizing of books they wish to sell in the Asiatic areas. In India you could buy any number of Soviet books for a few pennies and all of us know that American books run into dollars, and dollars are scarce anywhere outside of the U.S .
They have a good film library and advertise in the papers when they will show a documentary film.
I particularly liked a little children's reading room where small children and their mothers can come and find American children's stories with the Japanese translation. This room they told me had inspired many Japanese institutions to install a children's reading room and was a much talked of feature.
They have conference rooms at the Center and carry on English classes and hold discussion groups of various kinds.
I heard the wish expressed by some Japanese that the Center might provide more translations but it costs money and the U.S. is not anxious to spend much money these days on providing information to the rest of the world about the U.S. , so it leaves the field open to the Soviet Union.
At 12 o'clock I attended the Osaka Rotary Club lunch. Exactly the same procedure goes on here as would go on at any Rotary Club meeting anywhere in the world. They had foreign food instead of Japanese food and they sang songs in English, I am sure in my honor.
They greeted me at the end of lunch and I responded. Then an 80 year old puppet expert explained to us and exhibited for us the way Japanese puppets work. It was most interesting and the lady puppet he introduced to us was really very charming.
On leaving this delightful luncheon I went to the Central Public Hall and spoke under the joint sponsorship of the International House Committee and two of the Japanese newspapers.
The audience of 3000 people was attentive as usual, in spite of the translation which I still find awkward.
On my return to the hotel I met for an hour and a half with a group of women leaders of Osaka and a small group of students.
One of these women asked if I knew anything about certain conditions which exist here for girls living on the very poor farms in the neighborhood. I had never heard about them but by dint of talking with a small group of gentlemen during the evening I think I learned more than I had ever known before about certain social questions which are being brought out into the open in Japan largely because of the changed position of the women who react less complacently to such moral situations. I think this change in the women's attitude may eventually bring about some changes.
Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced
- [ index ] Osaka (Japan)
About this document
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, june 12, 1953
Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project The George Washington University 312 Academic Building 2100 Foxhall Road, NW Washington, DC 20007
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